Religious wedding ceremonies

For some couples only a church wedding will do. One thing a church wedding can offer the prospective couple is a structured service. Although all preparations can seem daunting, a church wedding gives you years of tradition to follow. But there is also scope for flexibility to add some more personalised touches. Discuss this with the vicar of your chosen church.

When you have decided on the date, you will have to decide on the church. You cannot simply get married in any church you want to. British law lays down three criteria which dictates where you can have a church wedding. You have to be a resident of the parish; you have to be on the church electoral roll; or be prepared to live in the parish of your choice for 15 days and ideally attend church for the three consecutive Sundays prior to your wedding day. If you do not live in the parish of the church you want to get married in, talk to the vicar. Although, of course he (or she) will not break the law, every effort will be taken to make it happen.

You have set the date and chosen your church. Now you need to discuss details with the vicar who will complete a banns form for you, detailing your names, ages, addresses, professions, parentsí professions and even whether you are related. These details will be used to announce your wedding when wedding banns will be read for three consecutive weeks before your wedding. If one of you lives in a different parish, the banns must be read in both parishes.

Traditionally, the wedding follows a set order of service. However, with the vicarís agreement, other items can be introduced, such as a poetry reading, a favourite piece of music being played on CD or live by a soloist or quartet.